Published on: 17.3.2023

Information produced by Finnish Environment Institute

Finland launches an inter-ministerial water stewardship action plan in support of fair water footprints

As a part of the Water Action Agenda of the UN 2023 Water Conference, Finland launches an inter-ministerial water stewardship action plan in support of fair water footprints of production and consumption.

The mission of the International Water Strategy of Finland is to work together towards responsible and equitable water security. Supporting water stewardship action by companies is one of the objectives of the Strategy, and water stewardship commitments and partnerships its implementation means. As a part of the implementation of the Strategy, a goal has been set for Finland and Finnish companies to become the most responsible water stewards in the world by 2030.

The Finnish national water stewardship implementation framework was lifted to a new level at the Glasgow COP26 in November 2021 when Finland became a founding signatory of the Fair Water Footprints Declaration along with other global leaders.

The Declaration signatories commit within the water footprints they have control and influence over, domestically and internationally, to a) Zero pollution and control of diffuse pollution, b) Sustainable and equitable water withdrawals, c) WASH access for workers and local communities, d) Protection of nature, and promotion of nature-based solutions and regenerative agriculture, e) Resilience to floods, droughts and water conflict (including through secure water tenure). The Declaration connects in a novel way government policies, trade relations and water stewardship action by companies along national and international value chains.

In the UN Water Conference March 24th 2023 in New York Finland launches its first delivery plan for the Declaration, constituting a national action plan for advancing corporate water stewardship and fair water footprints till 2030.

The action in 2023-2025 will focus on 1) committing the priority sectors to water stewardship and new types of collective action, 2) advancing fair water footprints and water stewardship as a part of public procurement and ownership steering by state, 3) advancing fair water footprints and water stewardship in trade- and development policy and projects, and 4) providing R&D&I funding for themes linked to priority footprints and associated development needs.

With four signing ministries, the plan has a strong cross-sectoral approach. Importantly, it places main emphasis on actors and networks outside the traditional water sector, highlighting their water risks and opportunities and constituting a strong business case for companies to act and engage on water.

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For further information, get in touch with Senior Research Scientist Suvi Sojamo Finnish Environment Institute